Voting forms for Lincoln BIG’s crucial five-year reballot will be landing on the doormats of its 800 levy payers later this week.
And, the Business Improvement Group, which recently supplied them with copies of its exciting 2020-2025 Business Plan, is hoping it will have persuaded as many as possible to give the not-for-profit organisation a resounding “YES” vote this Autumn.
With voting papers ready to be posted out today and the ballot closing six weeks later at 5pm on November 6 – and the result announced later the same evening – Chief Executive Sarah Loftus and her team remain upbeat.
A “Yes” vote will mean Lincoln BIG can prepare to start delivering on the pledges in its Business Plan. A “No” vote means the organisation will have to be wound-up.
“We’re entering a very exciting period, but we are not taking anything for granted. That is why I and members of the Lincoln BIG team have been out and about visiting levy payers and ensuring they know exactly what we offer – and what they stand to lose if the vote goes the “wrong” way,” said Sarah.
“In our Business Plan we have clearly pointed out to “member businesses” that it is important to vote “YES” if they don’t want to lose around 40 support services and initiatives. We need that mandate to carry on with our work.”
If Lincoln BIG secures the necessary “YES” vote, it will put £1 million a year to work over the next five years (made-up of levy payer monies and other income which it generates) with the aim of making a noticeable difference to the city.
Over the next five years, Lincoln BIG is going to concentrate on three priorities – Welcome; Experience and Value – all are designed to offer a great deal for all levy payers.
“Businesses in the BID area pay a levy which is based on their individual rateable value. The average amount of levy they will pay is between £1.82 to £51.66 per week.
“That translates into the cost of anything from one cup of coffee a week for a small independent business to seven cups of coffee for a National Retailer,” said Sarah.
PRIORITY ONE – WELCOME
Lincoln BIG wants to create a safer, cleaner and more welcoming city centre. In Year One, it pledges to continue its city warden service and respond to business requests to target hotspots for cleaning. Lincoln BIG can use its gum removal machine and street vacuum and also deal with the removal of graffiti.
It is also keen to deliver four community clean-up projects, manage the Lincoln in Bloom scheme again and boost the number of venues involved in the Ask Angela Campaign and our Security Group membership (by 10 per cent).
PRIORITY TWO – EXPERIENCE
Lincoln BIG will work to help create a World Class experience for all visitors.
“During Year One, we want to provide five quality events, a sculpture trail and to manage existing seasonal trails in the city. We also want to develop tourism projects with our partners, devise five High Street experiences and come-up with a public spaces plan by working with landowners,” said Sarah.
PRIORITY THREE – VALUE
“Everything we do will be rooted in giving our levy payers a great deal and using the collective voice of levy payers and partners within the city.
“In the first year, we want to increase the take-up of the BIG Bus and Car Park passes by five percent, to give up to 40 businesses 12 hours of support under the Collaboration4Growth programme, enable more businesses to access this programme, highlight our Park & Ride service and work with partners to promote Lincoln’s uniqueness through three campaigns.
“Business owners and managers sometimes think that Lincoln BIG is all about replacing local council or police services. In reality, it is about “additionality” and the wise use of our resources and activities to raise Lincoln’s game.”